Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'd rather be in Philadelphia

and I am! Hours before AMS 2009 kicks off, I'm loving every minute of being back home (for certain definitions of home, I suppose). I'm happily staying on the fold-out couch of my good college friend Cameron, who lives in a long-walkable distance from the conference. I can also attend this conference guilt -free (and resume posting) since I finally got everything together and revised my chapter, sending it off to the committee last Monday. What else have I done?

-teaching and grading. I now need to turn my attention to the lecture I'm giving the freshmen music students next week (!) on documenting music and the issues involved with notation, recording, video, photography etc. Any suggestions are welcomed!

-dancing. i"ve been teaching a 6-week Scottish dance class in Ann Arbor that has come to a close. Theres an enormous amount of pride in seeing people learning, having fun, and making lots of noticeable progress. Very heartening. I've also gotten in a couple dances here, which is quite satisfying.

-food and friends, here and in New York. Tastiest adventure: making acorn squash stuffed with feta, rosemary, and dried cranberries and butternut squash with cinammon, brown sugar, and walnuts, with Scrabble while roasting. My mouth is already watering for the food to be had at AMS.

-research. Just a bit.

-musicals! I saw Finian's Rainbow and Next to Normal. An odd pairing to be sure: one is an classic bit of musical comedy, the other a contemporary musical which tends to mean serious drama and a pop rock score. In fact, one of the fun games you can play at either is to try to find someone under 35 at Finian's Rainbow and someone over 35 at Next to Normal. But both were excellent. It astounds me how good the score to Finian's Rainbow is, and how far good songs performed with extra care and not a hint of irony can go for taking a weird, schtick-loaded book to soaring heights. Oh, and the clever, clever lyrics still get me, written by a guy who came of age decades earlier. Delicious. And Next to Normal actually churns out a fair amount of variety and memorability in its score, with several nice turns of phrases, but the power of the show is in its astonishingly-acted book, drenched in emotion without losing much of its crispness. I may have more to say, but that will have to wait until after this conference. It's good to be back here and out east.